Presidential Election of 1828: Issues, Candidates & Significance

Presidential Election of 1828: Issues, Candidates & Significance
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  • 0:03 Background to the Election
  • 1:27 The Election of 1828 Itself
  • 3:01 Results of the Election
  • 3:46 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Adam Richards

Adam has a master's degree in history.

The Presidential Election of 1828 generated extreme hostility between Andrew Jackson and President John Quincy Adams. Learn about the issues, the results and the rise of Jacksonian Democracy in the United States.

Background to the Election

The Presidential Election of 1828 between Andrew Jackson and incumbent, President John Quincy Adams was the one of most personally contentious election in the history of the United States.

The slander campaign evolved following the Presidential Election of 1824, in which John Quincy Adams won the presidency by accepting what was known as the 'corrupt bargain.' The 'corrupt bargain' was a deal in which Henry Clay swung votes to the first candidate that agreed to make him Secretary of State. Andrew Jackson, who was furious with the backdoor politics, launched a smear campaign that encompassed the entirety of John Quincy Adams's presidency.

By 1828, most prominent politicians realized that the election was going to be pitted between Andrew Jackson and President Adams. Martin Van Buren, seeing the futility in the National Republican Party, decided to swing his powerful political support behind Andrew Jackson. Together, these individuals launched what became known as the Democratic Party, or, colloquially, Jacksonian Democracy, which was a political movement largely modeled off of Jeffersonian Republicanism. The overarching goal of the new Democratic Party was to rid the country of the widespread nationalism that was promoted by the Adams Administration. The election of 1828 returned the nation to a 2-party contest, rather than the homogenous Democratic-Republican election of 1824.

The Election of 1828 Itself

As we just mentioned, two major issues surfaced during the election year. The first was the question of political integrity. Jackson and the Democratic Party accused John Quincy Adams of engaging in disgraceful politics in order to ensure his victory in the election of 1824. President Adams responded with a campaign that focused on Andrew Jackson's military career and personal life. Adams labeled Jackson a murderer and executioner during his time in the military. He also attacked Jackson's relationship with his wife Rachel Donelson. Technically, Donelson was not divorced from her previous husband prior to her marriage to Andrew Jackson. This led President Adams and the National Republicans to question whether Jackson was a law-abiding citizen capable of running the United States. Many potential voters viewed President Adams's approach as a severe breach of privacy.

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